Sam Turner’s important new interpretation of early medieval patterns of landscape development traces landscape change in the South West from the introduction of Christianity to the Norman Conquest (AD c. 450–1070).
It stresses the significance of political and religious ideology in both the ‘Celtic’ west (especially Cornwall) and the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ east (especially the Wessex counties of Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset). Using innovative new research methods, and making use of archaeology, place-name evidence, historical sources and land-use patterns, it challenges previous work on the subject by suggesting that the two regions have much in common.
Using modern mapping techniques to explore land-use trends, Turner advances a new model for the evolution of ecclesiastical institutions in south-west England. He shows that the early development of Christianity had an impact on the countryside that remains visible in the landscape we see today. Accessibly written with a glossary of terms and a comprehensive bibliography, the book will appeal to both veterans and newcomers to landscape archaeology.